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Deadliest Catch's Edgar Hansen Explains The Challenge Of Moving From The Deck To The Wheelhouse

Every business has bosses and workers, even on a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea. On Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," the bosses are the captains and the workers are the deckhands, and when one of these deckhands moves up into the boat's wheelhouse to sit in the captain's seat, it can be a big change in responsibility.

There are only a few different positions you can hold on a crab boat; deckhand, engineer, and captain. Moving from one of these positions to another isn't an easy thing to do. Edgar Hansen made that move, from a crewmember on the deck to a captain in the wheelhouse on his brother's boat, the F/V Northwestern, and the transition ended up being very different from what he first suspected.

Hansen had plenty of experience on the deck of the boat, but didn't have an extensive knowledge of how everything else was handled. He quickly found out that there would definitely be some challenges from taking on the role of captain on a legendary boat like the F/V Northwestern.

New captains need to let go of what's happening on the deck and earn their crew's respect

There were a lot of changes that came from moving from the deck to the wheelhouse of the F/V Northwestern, and Hansen noted that one of the biggest changes was not worrying about what was happening on the deck. All of his experience came from working on the deck of the boat, so letting go of that and focusing on the planning and logistics of the fishing wasn't the easiest task.

Hansen's experience working with the other deckhands did have its advantages and disadvantages towards moving to the wheelhouse, though. His time working alongside the rest of the crew on the deck let him understand the minute-to-minute grind on the rail. But at the same time, some of the crew didn't look at him as a true captain at first.

"You can be buddy-buddy with your crewmates, and then once you come up into the wheelhouse, now they take that for granted," Hansen said in an interview with Mike Fourtner of The Fourtner Report. "Their respect that they have for you isn't quite there yet, but that needs to be earned."

Hansen said that one of the hardest things he had to do when moving into the position of captain was just letting go and not worrying too much about the deckhands. They have their job and the captain has his, and that can ultimately be the biggest challenge in moving from one position to the other — letting go of your previous responsibilities and focusing on your new ones.